Mother jailed for killing two of her children in drink-drive crash

·3-min read
Mary McCann (Thames Valley Police)
Mary McCann (Thames Valley Police)

A mother who killed two of her children when she crashed into a lorry while drink-driving was jailed on Monday for more than four years.

Mary McCann, 35, from Derby, crashed into a HGV lorry on the M1 northbound near Milton Keynes on August 9 last year.

Lilly McCann, four, and Smaller Peter McCann, who celebrated his 10th birthday that day, died at the scene.

A third passenger, a two-year-old girl, did not sustain serious injuries.

The lorry driver, Simon Denton, was left with whiplash.

McCann appeared at Aylesbury Crown Court via video-link from HMP Bronzefield and wept during the hearing.

Stephen Shay, prosecuting, said: “Ms McCann was driving three children in a Vauxhall Astra car when at 11.12pm she collided with the rear of a lorry driven by Simon Denton.

“Tragically, two of her children were killed.”

McCann was in lane one, while the lorry was in lane two, the court was told.

Her car drifted into lane two and, in a bid to avoid the lorry, she crashed into it – sending her car spinning.

The court heard that McCann was driving at 72mph in a 60 zone, with Lilly and Smaller not wearing their seatbelts.

Lilly was thrown from the car and found on the roadside, while Smaller was flung around the backseat and found slumped in the footwell.

A witness heard the mum-of-four shout: “God, why didn’t I put their seatbelts on?” in the smash’s immediate aftermath, Mr Shay said.

McCann was arrested last September after failing to answer bail following the youngsters’ funerals, the court was told.

Laban Leake, defending, said: “She is here to be punished by this court and rightly so, but it must be acknowledged that the true punishment for this offence lives within Mary McCann.

“It is to that unquenchable wheel of fire that Mary McCann is bound.”

He said his client has complex post-traumatic stress disorder.

Judge Francis Sheridan said the lorry driver, Mr Denton, did nothing wrong.

He said Lilly would “not have been ejected” if she had been strapped in, while “Smaller would have remained in his seat”.

He said: “There is no punishment commensurate with the loss of one’s two children and I accept that.

“The message must go out: don’t drive under the influence of alcohol.”

McCann, of Bamford Avenue, Derby, was jailed for 49 months.

She was also banned from driving for seven years and two weeks after admitting two counts of causing death by careless driving whilst under the influence of alcohol.

Investigating officer, Detective Constable Ian Stevens said: “This was a tragic incident in which two young children lost their lives.

“My thoughts remain with their family at this incredibly difficult time.

“It was found through our investigation that the two children were not wearing seatbelts or using the correct child seats.

“Furthermore McCann was driving in excess of the speed limit and under the influence of alcohol.

“These are three out of the four ‘Fatal Four’ factors that can be the cause of a serious injury or fatal collision.”

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